How much of an influence does the high desert have on your sound?
Todd Rutherford: A huge influence on us. It probably expanded our tastes in music, and maybe expanded our approach to writing music. Not being in the city and not feeling that you have to appease a certain scene frees you up to use your imagination.
What drew you to Joshua Tree, the relative middle of nowhere?
Jesika von Rabbit: I moved here from LA. I was trying to get a band together and it wasn't happening. A friend had rented a house in Joshua Tree and invited me to come and check it out. I felt like I needed to stay out here. It was strange and scary; I felt like I was isolated. But something was telling me to stay. Writing and recording music kept me from going crazy.
Music to Start a Cult To features a lot of bizarre imagery, including the devil, bunnies, coyotes and Jesus. How much meaning is there in your lyrics and how much should be taken with a grain of salt?
Rabbit: It all has meaning. It's all just stuff that's soaked into us from living out here. We actually had an awesome friend named Coyote, so we sing about him.
What can audiences expect to see from Gram Rabbit on stage?
Rutherford: High energy. We want to be visual and entertain and represent the music. Part of it, too, is expressing the themes of the music on stage. Someone can see us interpret the songs live.
Rabbit: We have a bag of tricks. We have a couple girls that have full bunny suits.
The Top 5 Dire Straits Songs of All Time
Because we say so:
5. "Expresso Love"
4. "Tunnel of Love"
3. "Telegraph Road"
2. "Romeo and Juliet"
1. "Sultans of Swing"
BEST QUOTE EVER
"You know, I actually do a little rapping in the show. Because I feel like, you know, I try to bridge all kinds of music, every possible kind."
Where: Orleans Showroom
When: 8 p.m., July 21-24
Ever wonder what contract riders your favorite stars have for concerts? The Smoking Gun has the answers:
"Game Room: This room should have an arcade-type ambiance, such as video games, large television with PlayStation and games, masseur, ping-pong table, portable basketball hoop set up outside the dressing-room area."
Because every arcade we've ever been to offers massages.
Dressing-room catering: 3 bottles of Cristal champagne, 3 large bags of Wrigley Juicy Fruit and Doublemint gum, 2 boxes of LifeStyles and Rough Rider condoms (among other items).
We don't want to guess what order these might be used in.
Nevermore (3 stars)
This Godless Endeavor
The sixth album from Seattle rockers Nevermore is a straightforward collection of traditional heavy metal. Like their hometown brethren, Queensryche, Nevermore combine soaring vocals, thick riffs and blistering solos in a mix of prog-rock and power metal. They stay away from the goofy excesses of many of their peers, but do little to break out from the standard metal mold.
Heiress to Royalty
Ashanti may not be as good as her Lombardian haul of honors —Grammy, MTV Video Music and American Music awards, among others; she's no better than fourth in line to Mary J. Blige's queen of hip-hop soul throne—but Ja Rule's protégée is certainly a star.
3 Questions w/the Circle Jerks Keith Morris
How's your health?
Oh, I am ready to die. Just stick a fork in my forehead and say done ... I am doing OK. I have diabetes, and with diabetes come a few complications.
You work at V2 (the White Stripes' label). How was your experience when the Circle Jerks were briefly on a major label?
That was a joke. We got dropped from (Mercury) and they didn't tell us. The Bon Jovi album came out, and when it wasn't reaching their expectations, the head bozo there decided they had to focus all their efforts on the Bon Jovi record. So, we were out on tour and our records weren't in the store.
Back in the day, you were so clean-cut and now ...
I look homeless. I look like a troll under the bridge
I meant, you got dreads, why the change?
My fashion coordinator—you know, my stylist—said, "You got to modernize and start looking like all the kids that shop at Hot Topic."